Trump faces legal setback in second E Jean Carroll defamation case


A federal judge has issued a ruling holding former President Donald Trump accountable for defamatory remarks he made in 2019 concerning writer E Jean Carroll.

Judge Lewis Kaplan handed down his decision on Wednesday, stipulating that Carroll’s second civil defamation trial against Trump will focus solely on determining damages.

The case originated from Carroll’s allegations of rape against Trump, which she claimed occurred at a department store during the 1990s. The former president is scheduled to stand trial in January in response to Carroll’s accusations.

In response to Judge Kaplan’s ruling, Trump’s legal team released a statement expressing their confidence in overturning the verdict on appeal, thereby rendering the current decision inconsequential.

Carroll initially went public with her sexual assault allegations in a 2019 New York Magazine article. Trump swiftly denied the accusations, leading Carroll to file her first defamation suit against him in November of that year. She alleged that Trump’s statements had harmed her reputation and inflicted emotional distress.

It’s important to note that this case is distinct from a civil trial held in May, in which a New York jury found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll. However, he was not held liable for the alleged rape that occurred in the Bergdorf Goodman dressing room. Additionally, the jury found Trump guilty of defamation for branding Carroll’s accusations as “a hoax and a lie.”

As part of the May verdict, Trump was ordered to pay Carroll $5 million (£4 million). In the recent 25-page ruling concerning the second defamation case, Judge Kaplan argued that the May verdict demonstrated Trump’s statements about the assault were made with “actual malice.” Consequently, the upcoming trial will center solely on determining the amount Trump must pay Carroll for his comments.

Ordinarily, it would be left to a jury to decide the extent of damages in such cases. The trial for this matter is scheduled for January 15, 2024.

Carroll’s legal representatives released a statement expressing their anticipation for the forthcoming trial focused on damages.

Meanwhile, Trump is pursuing an appeal against the jury’s decision in the May case and has requested a new trial, which is currently pending. He continues to deny the rape allegations, asserting that he never met the former Elle Magazine columnist and that she fabricated the story to boost book sales.

In addition to these legal challenges, the former president faces a range of other legal issues, including both state and federal charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and his handling of classified documents.

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